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How Healthy Is Your Juice & What to Look for in Choosing a Juice That’s Good for You

Fruit and vegetable juices are some of the healthiest things you could ever put in your body, right? Well, not necessarily.

While the marketing language and labels may suggest that there’s nothing wrong with drinking juice, many kinds of juice are just as bad for you as a sugary sports drink or can of soda. Juice has been a health trend for many years, but many varieties leave out the important vitamins and minerals your body needs and replaces those things with sugar, sodium, and calories.

So, to help you make well-informed decisions about your favorite juices, here is some information about what makes a healthy juice and how to choose one that’s actually good for you.

Photo credit: Stiftelsen Elektronikkbran via Flickr

The Bad Side of Juice

Some people mistakenly think that drinking a fruit or vegetable juice is just as good as eating pure and whole fruits and veggies. Honestly, this would be quite convenient, but it’s simply not accurate. One big issue with juice is its lack of fiber content. When you remove the skin and pulp of a fruit or vegetable, you strip it of its valuable fiber, which is essential for digestion, hunger satiation, and regular bowel movements. It’s also much easier to drink an excess of calories with juice rather than getting those calories more slowly and naturally by eating whole fruits and vegetables.

The Good Side of Juice

The good news is that if you are already eating a pretty healthy diet, natural juice can give you a nutritional boost and help you consume a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than you may have otherwise. However, if you’re looking to diversify your produce intake without the unwanted calories or sugar, it may be in your best interest to look into fruit and vegetable supplements made from pure and natural sources.

Juices and Weight Loss

Many people looking to lose weight turn to juice as a meal replacement and weight loss strategy. Unfortunately, many juices are almost entirely full of sugar, which does nothing positive for your waistline, metabolism, or sleep schedule. Juice cleanses may help you shed a few pounds in the short-term, but those desired effects are often short-lived because they lack healthy dietary components that give you energy, such as protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You’re also more likely to feel hungry if you’re relying on juice as a meal replacement and be more susceptible to binge eating and becoming cranky because of the lack of satiety in liquid-based foods.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Smoothies v. Juices

There’s been a big debate in recent years about whether smoothies or juice are healthier. Essentially, it’s easy to make either a smoothie or a juice healthy or unhealthy depending on what you put into it. However, it is better to make your own smoothies or juice at home from scratch rather than buying pre-made varieties so that you know exactly what the ingredients are, where those ingredients came from, and control how much pulp you include in your blender or juicer to boost the fiber content. It is often easier and more practical to add healthy protein, such as a plant-based protein powder, and healthy fats, like almond butter and avocados, to smoothies rather than juices. But if you’re feeling creative and want to give juice a second chance, invest in a quality juicer, stock up on healthy ingredients to put into it, and give it a whirl!

Do you have a favorite juice recipe? Feel free to share it with us and your fellow natural health enthusiasts in the comment section below.

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